Lillebjørn’s Grit Laskin ´God Natt Oslo´guitar in Toronto

Lillebjørn picked big new Grit Laskin guitar

Lillebjørn Nilsen and Grit Laskin 1
Master luthier Grit William Laskin and Lillebjørn Nilsen. Photo: Inger MacKenzie

How a song brought a guitar

January 8 2015 was a great day for Lillebjørn. Two days before he had arrived in Canada. A long night flight from his home town Oslo, Norway. Second day he saw his Laskin guitar for the first time in luthier William Grit Laskin’s wood smelling workshop in Toronto, Canada. Third day Lillebjørn played the instrument at his gig in the fameous Toronto venue Hugh’s Room.

About the Lillebjørn GOD NATT OSLO guitar:

Not knowing anything about the LUTHIER Laskin, Lillebjørn was in a recording session singing a song from his good friend, Pete Seeger’s repertoire. The Photographers. A bowdy parody a cappela ‘folk’ song. Very close to British isles. Set in a traditional style. Lillebjørn couraguesly translated, putting it in his native tongue. This time in Nynorsk, the Norwegian language closest to our inherited old ballads. Strangely the song lost little in translation! The Photographers became Vidvinkel Stev. The record company had to ask for permission. And Lillebjørn found the guitar maker..

Lillebjørn contacted Laskin asking if he could make him a ukulele?
‘No way! To small a canvas.
‘A guitar?’

Master Laskin said: ‘OK. I like your music. Usually my waiting list is 6-8 years, but since I have put myself in the line, I’ll give you my number in the queue.’

Laskin asked Lillebjørn about doing his inlays. Lillebjørn: ‘Our Hardanger fiddles have mother-of-pearl and lots?’
Laskin: ‘Too boring.’
Lillebjørn: ‘Grit, free hands, you are the master!’

About William ‘Grit’ Laskingrit_small

WILLIAM “GRIT” LASKIN, a professional guitar maker since 1971, builds steel-string, classical, and flamenco guitars that are known and coveted around the world.

In 1997, he received Canada’s prestigious Saidye Bronfman Award For Excellence in the fine crafts and is the only instrument maker to be so honored.

He is also an elected fellow of the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts and is included in the ”Who’s Who in Canada” as well as the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.

In addition to building instruments, Grit is known internationally for his engraved inlay art. His most recent publication is A Guitarmaker’s Canvas: The Inlay Art of Grit Laskin.

To encourage the growth and public awareness of the luthier (makers and repairers of stringed instruments) craft, he co-founded the Association of Stringed Instruments Artisans. This is the international trade organization geared to professional builders and repairers of musical instruments. As president, in 1993 he authored the first code of ethics for luthiers.

Recently, for his groundbreaking work and for his contribution to the art, craft, and music communities in Canada, he was awarded in 2010 the Estelle Klein Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2012 he was presented with the Order Of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour, given to those whose efforts and innovations have enriched the national culture.

Grit Laskin – Guitar Maker


Tanta Til Beate – Live Lillebjørn og Siri

Tanta Til Beate. Live at the Rockefeller Hall Oslo


Aldri glemme

«God natt Oslo» («Good night Oslo») was written by Lillebjørn Nilsen. «Barn av regnbuen» («Children of the rainbow») is Lillebjørn’s adaptation of Pete Seeger’s «Rainbow Race» with Norwegian lyrics by Lillebjørn, here arranged by Øivind Westby. With Marius Graff on guitar and vocals, and Kringkastingsorkestret (the Norwegian Radio Orchestra) conducted by Christian Eggen. From the National Memorial Concert 22.7.12 in front of the Oslo City Hall


Min venn Pete Seeger

English Google Translation

Pete Seeger and Lillebjørn Nilsen
Pete Seeger and Lillebjørn Nilsen

Mandag 27. januar 2014 døde den amerikanske folklegenden Pete Seeger, 94 år gammel. Her rekapitulerer Lillebjørn Nilsen sitt forhold til sin største inspirasjonskilde.

Sommeren 1990, travelt opptatt med NRK TV-opptak med Gitarkameratene, fikk jeg en overraskende telefon. Min skotske venn Rod Sinclair, folkemusiker og organisator, fortalte at Pete Seeger endelig skulle opptre på Tønder-festivalen i Danmark sammen med Woody Guthries sønn, Arlo. Og Pete Seeger insisterte på å få med Lillebjørn Nilsen! Fortsett å lese «Min venn Pete Seeger»


Telemarksgalleriet – Lillebjørn malerier, grafikk og tegninger


Lillebjørn Nilsen vokste opp i Oslo med mor og far som aktive kunstnere. Hans far startet Oslos første grafiske silketrykkeri.

Lillebjørn «rømte» fra kunsten over i musikken. Han begynte å spille etter å ha funnet en ødelagt gitar på loftet og debuterte som musiker på et skolearrangement som 14-åring. Fortsett å lese «Telemarksgalleriet – Lillebjørn malerier, grafikk og tegninger»